D’Wayne Eskridge: Speed Kills
Most of you probably haven’t heard much about D’Wayne Eskridge yet and for good reason. He’s a speedster coming out of Western Michigan who was recently projected to be selected in the 4th or 5th round of the NFL draft later this April.
Eskridge is a former track and field champion and primarily played Running Back in High School, standing out with his blazing speed and eventually breaking the school touchdown record. He earned three-star-status but didn’t receive much interest at the college level. He got an offer from Ball State but decided to sign with the Western Michigan Broncos of the MAC.
Eskridge is undersized at just 5’9” 190 pounds but plays much bigger and shows incredible toughness and determination in run blocking. He’s a mighty mite, if you will, with an electric 4.35 40 yard dash, vertical jump of 35 inches, a broad jump of 10’4″, and a three-cone time of 6.93 seconds and a very fast 10-yard split of 1.50 seconds. He showed all that off at his Pro Day last week in front of scouts from 30 NFL teams.
While watching film on this playmaker I felt like I was studying up on a stud who is locked in as a first rounder. He plays with amazing speed and quickness, catching the ball in full stride, showing great bursts on jet sweeps and excellent vision with the ball in his hands. He can line up all over the field and make defenses pay whether he’s catching a slant, bubble screen, comeback route or going deep. Playing for Western Michigan looks to have made him an expert at adjusting to poorly thrown balls and working his way back to the quarterback. He can go up and get it at its highest point very well for a little guy and has a surprisingly physical game for his size.
He’s a Tyreek Hill type athlete and will have NFL scouts drooling over some of his similarities to the “Cheetah” but there are a few negatives. The first one isn’t necessarily a negative but it’s hard to overlook the fact that Eskridge will be 24 years old by the time the draft rolls around. He’s not Brandon Weeden or anything but 24 is a pretty old rookie. He has plenty of game experience due to that but wasn’t all that productive with his 2020 season being his best by far with just 33 receptions for 768 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Although he shows that he knows how to get off press coverage at the line of scrimmage and beat physical corners it’s going to be a much tougher task at the professional level when it comes to that area of his game. Other than his size, injury history, and age there isn’t really much to knock him for other than the fact that he played in the MAC.
Over his five year career at Western Michigan, Eskridge averaged 26.4 yards per reception, showcasing his big play ability and breakaway speed. He was a three year starter including playing some cornerback and actually having some considerable success at the position.
Eskridge finished his collegiate career catching 121 passes for 2,244 yards and 15 touchdowns over the course of his five seasons (redshirt senior due to broken collar bone). He also returned 17 kicks for 467 yards and a touchdown. He earned a reputation as one of the NCAA’s most versatile and dynamic players with his speed and explosiveness. That’s a reputation NFL teams are looking for and hoping he can carry it over to the pros.
I can’t wait to see what this speed merchant can do in the NFL and predict that he’ll continue flying up draft boards possibly even as high as the 2nd round.
Thanks for reading and as always, stay true.
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